Polymer Sargassum Amalgam 

Date – 2298

Place – Sargasso Sea

The historical value of this object and its value to our own contemporary science requires such powerful and sensitive instruments that its secrets are only now being unlocked.

It is thought to be the first known polymer/vegetate hybrid form ‘created’ outside the laboratory unsupervised and unobserved by humans.

In 2246 Geneticist Prof. Egon Lanier controversially speculated the possibility that some plant genotypes may, in time and in very specific conditions, migrate into and colonise microscopic particles of plastic trapped in natural systems, but it had never been observed and the theory stayed at the fringes of respectable science.

The Sargasso Sea, with its dense covering of floating plant life, provided the perfect conditions for this extraordinary event. Its borders created by four major ocean currents and circulating in a gyre, was also a place where huge quantities of plastic waste from all parts of the globe were captured.

The disruption of the Gulf Stream and the other major ocean currents around 2400 due to spiralling water temperatures allowed sargassum, the floating macroalgae that gave the sea its name, to spread across the globe. These new life forms thus migrated through all of the planet’s oceans with the devastating consequences we are all familiar with.

Recent studies of the plastic elements of these hybrid life forms reveal the origins of the plastic waste and allow us to plot the lost currents of these oceans and imagine their vibrant ecosystems.

Return to exhibition